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New Age "Asiatic" thought ... is establishing itself as the
hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. (Zizek)

Sunday, May 14

pleased to meet you

stuck around St. Petersburg
when I saw it was a time for a change...

stones ~ sympathy for the devil

"Under house arrest in Ekaterinburg after the Bolshevik Revolution, the former empress Alexandra traced a swastika on the window. An ancient Buddhist sun sign, it suggests her knowledge of Theosophy."

That's from The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture (Cornell University Press, 1997, p. 394), where a few pages later we read:

French Theosophists were deeply involved in forging The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and transferring them to Russia, where long-standing anti-Jewish myths, including the medieval notion that the Antichrist would be a Jew, fused with occult racial anti-Semitism.
Changing gears, times and places -- from pre-revolutionary Russia to pre-WWII Romania -- Mircea Eliade wrote about his life in 1937:
The popularity of the Legionary movement was continually growing. Some of my friends and colleagues had belonged to the Iron Guard for several years. Others seemed to be waiting for the right moment to request admission. Although he did not belong in an official sense, Nae Ionescu was considered the ideologist of the Legionary movement, much to the annoyance of other intellectuals and journalists of the right."

~ Mircea Eliade
Autobiography, Volume 2: 1937-1960, Exile's Odyssey
pp. 9-10

That needs some unpacking. First off, Nae Ionescu is not to be confused with Eugene Ionesco, the playwright of Rhinoceros and Bald Soprano fame. The politics of these two could not be further apart, the latter having gone to some lengths to document what happened to the former -- along with a whole generation of his colleagues, including, as we shall see, Mircea Eliade...

BERENGER: [looking fixedly at JEAN] Do you know what's happened to Boeuf? He's turned into a rhinoceros.

JEAN: What happened to Boeuf?

BERENGER: He's turned into a rhinoceros.

The play is not about people turning into Baltimore Orioles, but rather, about people turning into Nazis. As to the other man, in Myth and Religion in Mircea Eliade, Douglas Allen writes (p. 140) of Nae Ionescu that he was "not only [Eliade's] favorite, revered professor but also... the major influence on shaping his early approach toward myth and religion."

Second off, Eliade's mention of "the Legionary movement" refers to the Legion of the Archangel Michael and its more active "enforcement" arm, the Iron Guard.

Now let's try putting some of these pieces together. In On Clowns: The Dictator and the Artist, Norman Manea quotes another (quite sympathetic) work on Eliade in a footnote (p. 92):

Nae Ionescu was by no means a simple propagandist of Italian Fascism or German National Socialism. His teachings and his activities do, however, situate him well within the ambit of the nationalistic, antidemocratic philosophies and movements of interbellum Europe generally known as as fascist.

~ Mac Linscott Ricketts
Mircea Eliade, The Romanian Roots, 1907-1945, Vol. 1
(Boulder, Colo.: East European Mono-graphs, 1988) p. 114

In Religion After Religion: Gershom Sholem, Mircea Eliade, and Henry Corbin at Eranos (perhaps you will recall [but probably not] from my Jung-Eliade School post that this is the book in which George Steiner was quoted as saying that the "alpine priesthood" of Eranos was susceptible to a kind of conservative-romantic mysticism which was at least tinged with "Führer-politics"), a footnote on p. 306 (why is the good stuff always in footnotes and parenthetical asides?) explores the life-long friendship between Eliade and the Italian "spiritual" racist/fascist Julius Evola. Not so by the way, this follows a footnote (11) which, for half a page, lists "Some of the literature pertaining to Eliade's involvement with Nae Ionescu... and the Iron Guard."
Theirs was a very old relationship, beginning in 1927... Evola urged the twenty-one-year-old Eliade to experiment personally with Yoga, before the latter's "Journey to the East" in 1928 (an admonition Eliade recalled fondly in 1974...). Upon returning to Romania, Eliade published a gushing evaluation of Evola's Revolt Against the Modern World in 1935, dubbing his Italian mentor "one of the most interesting minds of the war generation," and comparing him to Spengler, Gobineau, Chamberlain and [Alfred] Rosenberg... This review is available in a French translation by Faust Bradesco, published in the first issue of the neofascist journal Les deux entendards (1988).
If you google the names Eliade gives there -- Spengler, Gobineau, Chamberlain, Rosenberg -- you'll turn up all sorts of fascists and Nazis, because that's sure a core starter list. But what does all this amount to? Who cares? The following continuation of the footnote cited above (for On Clowns) provides one possible answer...
Among the many crimes arranged by the Legion, or Iron Guard, must be mentioned the barbarous ritual murder of two hundred Jews, including children, on January 22, 1941, at the Bucharest slaughterhouse (while the "mystical" murderers sang Christian hymns), an act of ferocity perhaps unique in the history of the Holocaust.

Hope you guessed my name.

                    ...and what i want to know is

      how do you like your blueeyed boy

      Mister Death

                                    ~ ee cummings



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